Psychology Professor to Share "The Brain's Love Potion" at Faculty Forum

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dr. Alan Gittis, Westminster College professor of psychology, will speak on "The Brain's Love Potion" at Faires Faculty Forum Wednesday, April 20, at 11:40 a.m. in the Sebastian Mueller Theater of the McKelvey Campus Center.

Students in Westminster's neuroscience program have made forays into problems in social neuroscience with some dramatic observations about the power of the hormone oxytocin in inducing mammalian bonding.  Based on Gittis' collaborative research with 2010 Westminster Honors graduate Alexandra Alfieri and assistance from several of her classmates, Gittis will describe how their observations provide insights into autism and speculations as to how similar hormones underlie human monogamous pair bonding.

Gittis, who has been with Westminster since 1976, earned an undergraduate degree from Temple University and master's and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.  He received Westminster's 2009 Distinguished Faculty Award and the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience.

Faculty Forum was established in 1990 by Dr. Barbara Faires, Westminster professor of mathematics emerita, during her term as Dean of the College and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Faculty members from all disciplines volunteer to present lectures on their current research, artistic productions, and/or scholarship of teaching and learning.  Each forum presents new ideas with innovative lecture techniques.

Contact Gittis at (724) 946-7358 or email for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster is a top tier liberal arts college, a national leader in graduation rate performance, and a "Great School, Great Price," according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 38th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 373 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

Dr. Alan Gittis